If you’ve been collecting wine over the winter months and have cases stacked up in your garage or office, you need to take precautions so you don’t risk spoiling your investment. Here are some simple, proven rules that you can use to make sure your wine doesn’t wilt:
1. Heat kills wine. Make sure you keep your wine in an area that doesn’t get above 70 degrees. And during the dog days of summer, it’s especially important to protect your wine from overheating. So don’t leave wine in the trunk of your car during warm days as temperatures can reach over 100° Fahrenheit in the time it takes to go to the movies.
2. Keep the temperature steady. Temperature fluctuations of more than 10 degrees can be more harmful than keeping the wine at a higher than recommended, but steady, temperature.
3. Older wines (more than 10 years) are more fragile than young ones and are susceptible to spoilage if storage conditions aren’t right. Fine wines that are built to age are usually expensive, so you’re putting your assets at risk if you don’t store them properly.
4. If you buy wine online, avoid having it shipped during summer months. Most wineries now ship only during the Spring and Fall to make sure your wine isn’t cooked en route to your house. Give instructions not to ship on a Thursday or Friday or your wine may sit in a toasty warehouse over the weekend.
One thing about home wine coolers: The rule of thumb is never put them in an area where the temperature climbs 30 degrees above the temp you have the cooler set to. For example, if you have the thermostat set to 55F, the temp in the space shouldn’t get above 85F or you will strain the cooling unit and risk a blowout. So forget the garage during the summer as it will get hotter than any other room in the house. Garages are great places to store lawnmowers, but not wine.